Duke + Dexter lets the good times (and the bowls) roll

For its latest sun-drenched summer campaign, the British brand’s best sporting styles take to the green at Los Angeles’ Holmby Park Bowls Club…

Bowls; it’s a bright white delight of a sport. The jack was first cast somewhere in Ancient Rome, but the modern game can be traced to 13th Century London. Since then, the pursuit has pushed its way — with precision and patience — to greens at every corner of the globe. It’s a story not dissimilar to that of Duke + Dexter; the now famous footwear brand that, whilst beginning in London, has since laced-up and landed in over 120 countries across the world.

And, this summer, on a meticulously-manicured lawn over 5,000 miles away from the Duke + Dexter workshop in Sheffield, the shoes and the sport have finally made contact — hitting the green and coming to rest at the Holmby Park Bowls Club in Los Angeles. The London-based label played a long evening game at the Californian club, and the occasion proved the perfect time and place to showcase some of the brand’s most lawn-ready, bright white sneakers.

The Duke + Dexter team were already in town when the shady palm trees and sun-stained grass of Beverley Hills’ Holmby Park rolled onto their radar. So, after shooting the soulful, retro-influenced ‘Time + Place’ campaign for summer, the footwear brand decided to deck out the seasoned club regulars in some choice sneakers to complement their all-white fits — and then challenge them to a game. 

In the words of brand founder Archie Hewlett, the Duke + Dexter side “got a pretty good hiding”. And yet, under the Los Angeles sun — and sporting sneakers including the ‘Stadia’ and ‘Ritchie’ styles — the club’s elderly regulars had never shone brighter. So, whether you’re a seasoned sportsman, or you simply want to reach these seniors’ levels of style, here are the best summer sneakers for the bowling green — and beyond…

The ‘Club Sneakers’ lace up the vintage look

First up — and perhaps most suited to the Holmby Park Bowls community — come the aptly-named ‘Club Sneakers’. It’s a shoe with a decidedly vintage design, but one that laces up its retro influences alongside some thoroughly modern finishes and flourishes. And, above all, it’s one of the most comfortable shoes Duke + Dexter has ever stepped out.

That’s chiefly thanks to the sneaker’s thermoplastic rubber (TPR) soles. It’s a solid-but-bouncy material, ideal for casual sports and with a lightweight, elegant elasticity you won’t find with other sneakers. Those uppers, too, are cut from only the finest fabrics — with water-resistant Italian suede blending with a breathable technical mesh to keep your feet cool.

But perhaps the most winning feature of the ‘Club Sneaker’ — which is available in bowls-ready ‘White’, the neutral ‘Sahara’ and a versatile ‘Navy’ — is its unwavering, fortifying support. Like the Holmby Park fans, the shoe will never miss a game, a step or a chance to cushion you with its comfortable leather lining, which will only further mould to your feet with every forehand fired. It’s a friend; on the lawn and off.

Duke + Dexter lets the good times (and the bowls) roll

Duke + Dexter ‘Club Sneakers’

£200.00

Buy Now

The ‘Stadia Sneakers’ are truly triumphant trainers

Next up; the ‘Stadia Sneaker’. It’s another shoe with a sporting namesake, and one with enough style and shape to hold its own across a whole tournament of disciplines. But Duke + Dexter’s most outwardly athletic trainer is much more than just a piece of practical activewear. Available in ‘Grey’, ‘White‘ and ‘Sahara’, it’s a shoe that tops the podium in every walk of life. 

With a lining once more made from natural Italian leather, the ‘Stadia Sneakers’ share the support and comfort of the ‘Club Sneaker’ above. But, thanks to a vulcanised rubber sole — a unit that’s formed using a series of durable layers — the shoe is a little more flexible, and lends itself to even the most extreme or difficult manoeuvres (for any bowls enthusiasts, think the notoriously tricky ‘Ditch Length Shot’). 

But it’s not only the sneakers’ comfortable, versatile sole that’s primed for sporting success. Across the striking Nappa leather upper — with its idiosyncratic dual-tone design — sits a strip of ultra-breathable perforated material, which allows a steady stream of temperature-regulating airflow to your feet. It’s an ideal style; whether you’re kicking back in your kicks under the sun or trailing jacks all summer. 

Duke + Dexter lets the good times (and the bowls) roll

Duke + Dexter ‘Stadia Sneakers’

£220.00

Buy Now

Nothing shines brighter than the ‘Ritchie Sneakers’

It may be the final style to step up to the mat, but the ‘Ritchie Sneaker’ is the star player of Duke + Dexter’s trainer team. With over 20 colourways and creative limited editions available in this design, the brand’s most traditional trainer sets the pace to slow, steady and stylish. And the ‘White X Blue Contrast Ritchie Sneaker’ pictured here proved the ideal, subtly sporting style for the bowlers of Holmby Park.

It’s not difficult to see why. This is a sneaker stitched together with more attention and refinement than a perfectly-executed ‘Plant Shot’. Handcrafted in England from Italian pebble grain leather, the hard-wearing, easy-cleaning shoe has contrast detailing along its seams and extra padding on the inside for day-conquering comfort. 

The entire shoe is also created using as few non-renewable, petroleum-based materials as possible. But the masterstroke? That custom-made sole. Not only is it lightweight, flexible and endlessly practical, but Duke + Dexter has even added extra UV protection to keep the treads whiter for longer. And, as the seasoned, stylish enthusiasts on the hazy greens of Holmby Park will tell you, there’s no better way to bowl people over than by dressing the brightest, whitest part. 

Duke + Dexter lets the good times (and the bowls) roll

Duke + Dexter ‘Ritchie Sneakers’

£220.00

Buy Now

Want more? Check out the full Duke + Dexter range here…

Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.

Further Reading